Scott Postma

A blog about the Great Books, the Craft of Writing, and Human Flourishing.

Value Creation Starts with Better Reading

In a previous post, I asserted value creation is one of the most important responsibilities an effective writer has.

I explained that writing is not just about self-expression, per se, but about creating value for your readers. In order to do this effectively, you have to know your readers.

But there is something else just as important: you have know things for your readers.

Value Creation Reading

Mortimer J. Adler explained that a good writer elevates his readers by giving them something to reach for. If a reader is reading something that he could have said himself, he gains nothing by reading.

However, if the reader is reading above her head, she gains something valuable from the writer.

Good writers don’t just redistribute information, they create value for their readers.

In Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth Godin speaks to this indirectly when he addresses the significance of reading and writing in education. He says,

In the connected age, reading and writing remain the two skills that are most likely to pay off with exponential results.

Reading leads to more reading. Writing leads to better writing. Better writing leads to a bigger audience and more value creation. And the process repeats.

Typical industrial schooling kills reading.

Among Americans, the typical high school graduate reads no more that one book a year for fun, and a huge portion of the population reads zero. No books! For the rest of their lives, for 80 years, bookless…

But reading is the way we open doors. If our economy and our culture grows based on the exchange of ideas and on the interactions of the informed, it fails when we stop reading.

He’s right. Healthy progress comes from the exchange of ideas and the interactions of the informed. When a society stops reading, progress stops.

But I would add that the progress of a society is impeded also when it stops reading well–when it stops reading the most important books.

And writers stop creating value for their readers when they stop reading, or even when they stop reading well.

Value creation for readers start with the writer creating value for him or herself by reading well and reading a lot.


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About Scott Postma

Scott is a writer and teacher living in North Idaho. He loves teaching the Great Books, writing and blogging, and collecting more books than he'll ever read in a lifetime. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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